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Xaverian's New Mock Trial Program Off to a Strong Start

By Spencer Daniszewski ’21, #XBCorps

The 2018-2019 school year marked the first year of Xaverian Mock Trial, and in their first competition of the year, the Hawks enjoyed an auspicious beginning--they won.
 
The team had been working on their strategy, methodology, and style for weeks before competing. Xaverian participated in three practice scrimmages in the days prior, winning one. Since this was the first year of competition, the team had to become familiar with case law and trial procedure before they could even begin learning the case. This set them at a disadvantage while other veteran teams were able to dive right into the facts of the case.

The Massachusetts Bar Association, who runs the Mock Trial organization, gives just one fictional case per year. This means that teams spend months learning and studying every minute detail of the case. This year, teams were tasked with defending or prosecuting a police officer accused of using excessive force.

The first real matchup of the year was on January 15 against Walpole High School. "I knew we were underdogs going in," said James Murphy ’21, "and it was close, but I had a gut feeling that we had won before the verdict came in.”

James was right. It was incredibly close, but Xaverian emerged with the win, scoring 88/100 points against Walpole's 87/100.

For their second showing, Xaverian enjoyed a decisive victory in its trial against Westwood High School at the Framingham District Court House. The team’s Attorney Coach, Judge James Menno ’73, told the team that they showed "tremendous improvement," and a "command of the case." The Xaverian attorneys brought greater poise and awareness to this second trial--and importantly--they were adaptive. Quick on their feet and employing careful listening and logic skills, they made better objections, and tried a more cohesive case. Tying or winning each of the attorney-witness match ups, the team's victory was strong; the final score was Westwood 81 to Xaverian 97.

Attorney Betsy Soulé, acting Judge in the second trial noted that Xaverian's attorneys Christian Bonadio ’22, Spencer Daniszewski ’21, Nick Gillespie ’21, James Murphy ’21, and Neeraj Ramesh ’21, were determined and smart in their tactical use of objections. She also extolled Xaverian's witnesses, Thano Kazis ’21 and Michael Organsky ’21, who deserved "an academy award" for their strong performances. And first-time witness, Matt Folan ’21, brought home Xaverian's first perfect score acting as the defendant, Nat Hart. The team’s win was supported by the hard work, practice, creativity, and preparation provided by Xaverian's alternates, Pratham Gujar ’21, Aaroh Jugulum ’21, Brayden Meech ’22, and James Peruzzi ’21. Without their time and commitment, which includes attendance at extended weekend practices, Xaverian's case would not have been ready for these trials. Xaverian will face its greatest challenge yet on Friday, February 1, in the final preliminary trial of the season, competing against veteran team, and last year's regional winners, Newton South.
 
Mr. Joseph Webb, mock trial club moderator and a teacher in Xaverian’s theology department, was a part of his own mock trial team when he was in high school. He is responsible for bringing the club to Xaverian. Mr. Webb, Mock Trial Attorney Coaches Judge James Menno ’73, and Attorney Matthew Miller ’94, and the team members look forward to future trials this year, and in the years to come. 
 
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A private, Catholic, college preparatory day school for boys in grades 7-12. The Boston area prep school offers a rigorous academic curriculum, a well-developed campus ministry program focused on faith, character, and leadership, and a proud athletic tradition featuring competitive Division 1 high school athletics in the Catholic Conference.